==== December 6, 2013
==== Cerise, Nora
==== The girls stop to chat in the middle of nowhere.

Who Cerise, Nora
What The girls stop to chat in the middle of nowhere.
When There are 0 turns, 6 months and 18 days until the 12th pass.
Where Watering Hole Clearing

cerise19.jpg Nora1.png

Watering Hole Clearing
Sky-brushed trees give way well before the swamp's edges to tall reeds and watergrasses, a damp and hummocked stretch of land which surrounds an ancient causeway. The crumbling structure extends, stony and washed smooth and slick, and at its middle has collapsed to allow the water's natural flow over its top in something akin to a safe ford. The region's native creatures favor this place; clean, filtered fresh water slides beneath the scummed, motionless green surface.
Paving stones, from unremembered times and now covered with the growth and debris of many centuries, poke through a trodden path from one side of the clearing, across the causeway until it disappears into a roughly rectangular shelter of tumbled, vine-covered stone.
It is the sixth day of Winter and 77 degrees. It is partly cloudy, but still warm and bright. Clouds have started to drift across the sky again. The jungles are almost dry.

One thing leads to another- one minute you're boasting about your dragon's increase in stamina and the next you've somehow suggested you give a guided (read: made up) tour of the little known areas surrounding Southern Weyr. Cerise doesn't know where the hell they are at the moment. What she does know is that Jiamoth has requested a breather and a chance for shoulders to grow slightly less achy, and they're standing at the mouth of a road that isn't yellow, but is old. Which, naturally, seems to compel her to begin spouting lies as she pulls her helmet off and studies the smooth stones beneath her riding boots. "…oh aye, when the first folk settled the continent, they covered the land in these pathways. You can see 'em everywhere if you go high enough, sketched out over the land like a giant's hand carved 'em into place. Maybe those first folk were giants, who knows."

Somewhere in the midst of that tour-offering, there's the embarrassing reveal that Nora has taken very few tours of the area at all, other than a brief pass or two with her brother when they first arrived — but between the shock of near-constant rain and finding her way around the Weyr itself, getting a job and such, sightseeing in outlying areas wasn't high on her list. Suffice it to say, Nora has no clue where they are either. But at least it's not raining — so far so good. She's dressed for it anyway: a light moss-colored slicker over a button-up gray shirt that could be termed rugged and casual only in comparison with the rest of her wardrobe, a pair of copped pants cuffed below her knees and boots with only a smidge of heel. Virtually all-purpose, they are! Meanwhile, as they stand, she'll try to rub helpfully at Jiamoth's sore muscles, though with her meager strength and half-effort, it's the thought that counts, right? "It's amazing they've lasted at all," she says of the road, giving up her attentions to the young green to poke a toe at the stone below. "Did we see where this one is… going?" This road they're on. 'We' must mean Cerise, since apparently Nora was busy looking at something else. Now she scans around, squinting toward that vague structure that at first appears just to be a pile of bramble and vines.

It must be an effective thought- beneath Nora's hands, Jiamoth is doing her utmost to melt into a big purring pile of celadon velvet. As in, the little green has gone belly-down on the paving stones and appears intent on remaining there until Nora decides she's finished, or Cerise summons her away, whichever comes first. There is sighing. Lots and lots of contented sighing, gusty enough to almost drown out Cerise's eventual call. "I know, right? You'd think the meteors would have done a number on them. But here we are, standing in the footsteps of ancients." Even Jia expresses some interest in that, though it's more a whimsy as she noses at the stones before turning her head in the direction that Nora's looking. "Looked like swamp to me," her girl says, bootheels clicking as she sets off forward- and then pauses midstep at some silent warning. "…didn't see any feline scat, they're not so big on the damp, aye?"

For all that sighing and melting, Nora's smile slides wide and wry and pleased, and her hands lighten to a playful tickle across that ever-soft hide before they lift away. Her steps drift toward the edge of the crumbling road. "The meteors, the rain, just… nature," she considers with a thoughtful frown, a little shake of her head that makes her sleek ponytail swing. "Footsteps of the ancients." A flash of a grin is tossed over her shoulder toward Cerise, a moment's dramatic pause before she bounces her fine eyebrows. "How are we with the damp?" she wonders, letting a curl of mischief slip into her voice as she daintily tests a step on the soft ground. It's in the direction of that structure. "What do you think it was? What was out here?"

"Well, I dunno about you but it makes my hair go every which way and yes, lovey, if a feline jumps us you've my permission to tear it to shreds." Exasperated adoration, there, the glance and grin Cerise had intended to aim at Nora being sidetracked by the green. "But until then, mind your shoulders. Nora and I are just gonna poke 'round, aye?" That's right, don't think she missed that glint of mischief, nor the squishy-soft step that leads away from the path and towards the bramble-wrapped structure. Snapping her helmet to her belt, Cerise follows after but only once she's fetched a sheathed blade appropriate to jungle-cutting from Jiamoth's straps. "I'm a fair poet when I put my mind to it, mm?" This calls back to the first occasion of Nora grinning, just in case she's of a mind to miss the compliment. "And I'm thinking…thread shelter, maybe? Or berth for beast fodder. Who knows what the land might've looked like all those Turns ago. Maybe it wasn't quite so damp," she says, looking down and lifting a boot high to study the skirting of mud around its tread.

The 'yes, lovey' pulls Nora's attention again, mistakenly thinking she'd just graduated to a new pet name. But between her and Jiamoth, it's probably the green who should go about tearing the felines to shreds. "That was supposed to be my cover story," she muses as a random aside. "When Chorzeczoyth… After the stables. I was going to tell everyone I'd battled bare-handed with a feline and come away with only a little scratch." Her hands come up in loose fists, for a flex of skinny biceps. Perhaps the blade is a better idea. "Is that weyrling issue?" The headwoman's eyebrows lift again for the smart addition to their number. "A berth for beast fodder. Wouldn't that be disappointing," ho hum. But bravely, she takes another step off the path, boots light on the soft ground and then suddenly not, she just goes tromping off across the soggy land. Jiamoth can take care of the felines, Cerise the vines and Nora? She swats a gnat away from her ear. "Shouldn't we have a list of all the thread shelters? A map of them? To fix them up?" This hasn't been one of her jobs, at least.

"Y'know Dimi still feels guilty about that? He'd never admit it but it was one've the things that helped him start shaping up and putting the screws to Chorz," Cerise claims, giving her foot a little shake. The mud clings. She puts her foot down. "This," she says of the blade, "is trail issue. Was a brother's before it was mine, it's come down and down and down through the ranks until I ended up with it." She tilts the machete this way and that as if to admire the weapon but, as is often the case with such tools, it is nothing to write home about- nicked, not at all shiny and though it's sharp, it doesn't look the part. But what matters is its effectiveness, which the greenrider puts to the test by swinging it at the high tufts of grasses passes occasionally on their way to the shelter. Oh yeah. Those vines don't stand a chance. "I could be wrong but gossip mill said that trader girl T'ral's hot for is doing something with the shelters. Maybe."

"It was not the most fun afternoon I've ever had," Nora admits, the wrinkle of her nose as likely for the memory as it is for the glance down to find her own boots picking up a good bit of chunky, clinging muck. "But if it helped him to… I know it was an accident. I know he… I thought his eyebrows were going to spasm off his face. You could just see him… fighting himself." But an exhale and another look for the machete and, "It's scary to think of him ever wielding anything like that," the blade gestured at vaguely. And the she realizes: "Oh. A brother." She smiles for her mistaken assumption. "How many were there? Are there." It hitches at her expression. "How many brothers?" She can land on that, and watch the test-grass fall away under Cerise's slicing. As for the trader girl, "T'ral has a girl?" The faint smile of amusement shares space with her mentally ticking away at the potential faces. "There's the one with the auburn hair…" Whose name isn't coming to her right away.

"Glad I'm not the only one who can see him doing that." This, with a wry glance towards the other woman. Wry and mildly amused, sending Cerise's smile on a slant. "He's not bad with a blade either though. Used to juggle 'em on stage, aye? He plays the floppy fool only because folk expect it of him and he's lazy enough to prefer lowered expectations." That…is a gem of information. One that would probably get her smacked by the brother in question, were he around. But! He isn't, which means she goes cheerfully on- expression hidden as she reaches the first clump of thorny vines and begins to hack at them to clear the way for Nora's more delicate heeled boots, behind. "Oh, there was a whole litter of brothers, and sisters too. Can't rightly count them all proper, Da never claimed half of those I think he fathered," she says- easing so brightly around the topic of numbers. Instead, there's the chop and slash and ring of machete against gnarled vines- and then a pause, after which Cerise calls, "Come lookit this? This look like a fresh campfire to you?"

There's a bit of knowing, perhaps some pride too, in Nora's smile, downcast as her eyes might be on the path before her — she's trying to avoid the soggier spots. "Oh, that would have my heart in my throat," she laughs emptily at the thought of D'tri tossing around multiple blades at once. "I think sometimes he forget it's an act." So Cerise may be due a smack, but that cat was out of the bag anyway. She might be about to ask more about the sprawling family the greenrider has described, but now Nora's attention shifts from comfortable questions and uncertain ground to hurry a step to toward the recently hacked vines and what does look like the remnant of a campfire. "Fresh?" Because is it any surprise that her knowledge on the matter taps out at 'campfire'? "How do you tell? And with all the rain." But her brow twists. "So… someone has been using this place." The thoughtful gape of her mouth shuts abruptly as she slips her eye toward the structure and her voice is a touch quieter when she says, "Fresh like… we're not alone?"

Cerise squats down beside the little patch cleared by someone else's blade. Gloved fingers are run through the smear of charcoal that darkens the ground at the far edges of what was a campfire. "That's the thing, aye? It's been raining a lot and wet ashes get all clumpy, these aren't. S'cold, though, likely been out for hours. So not like fresh fresh." But that, it would seem, is the extent of Cerise's tracking ability. She looks up and squints off into the underbrush but appears to have no success in making out who might've made this little fire in the middle of nowhere. "Shame Maosa didn't come out with us, bet she'd be able to tell us if any of her folk get out this way. Makes sense, them using the old roads, aye?"

Nora is only partially attentive to the lesson on campfire ash, remaining standing to sweep her eyes around in this direction, then that, seeing nothing but alive but plants and bugs. Or, well, she feels the bugs and wipes at her hair to make sure they don't get any ideas. "I'd imagine anyone would. Better than getting stuck in the mud. They're just people, right? They're not actually wild animals like the gossip would have you believe." She says it as if she's reassuring Cerise, of course, and the shift of her weight is just to keep her boots from sinking too far into the ground, even though it's a little less squishy here where someone has chosen to have their fire. "I heard they're mostly farther north? I think? It depends on where we are." Which could be anywhere. But rather than linger over the ash, she starts toward the vine-covered wall, following it to a window with the shutter well rusted and corroded shut, trying to peek through a sliver into the dark interior.

"Strange people," Cerise amends. "According to her, they steal their wives. The fella who came for her, she got the better of him and left him tied to a tree. Naked or something like that. She doesn't care for men much and if they're all that useless where she's from, can't say as how I blame her." The ex-performer unfolds from the crouch she'd adopted, brushing her hands off as she stands. A skin of ash remains on her fingers but this is ignored in favor of trailing after Nora to spy on what she's spied, machete once more in hand. "Don't think we're north. Faranth…can you imagine, being squeezed cheek and jowl into something like this, with death coming down on top of you? Don't think you could even fit your wagon beasts in something this size, they'd be outside bawlin'…" Her shudder is not entirely feigned, though there's an air of the dramatic in her enactment of the movement. "Makes me glad we grew in an Interval."

There's a press of Nora's lips, more 'of course' than 'oh really' for this tale of wildling weddings. "I'm not sure it's all that different for the rest of the nowtimers," she drolls lightly, giving up on her peek through the window slit. "It's just dark in there. I can't see anything." With a hand on the wall, she rolls away from the shutter, to make room for Cerise to have a look if she wants, and her mouth pulls into a more emphatic grimace as she glance back the way they came. "That's a picture," the people huddled and the animals screaming in fear. "But here we are, staring down the Pass." Her voice trails off a little, dying under weight of the thoughts that follow. "I don't know why, but I thought they'd be more… ready. But none of it feels ready."

It's a thought, in turn, that gives Cerise pause: what are the Nowtime marriage protocols outside of the wild tribes? "Y'know, I haven't really talked much to anyone who isn't all up in Weyr ways of doing stuff, now. But…I could see some of these menfolk just grabbing a lady and calling her wife." Of course, the way she says it, there's a note of amusement there- and a look in her eyes that doesn't quite echo the sentiment of humor. Distraction is provided by that sliver of space between shutter and window frame, a sliver that she eases the thick machete blade into in a vain attempt at widening the gap. All she does is loosen the crust of rust that mars the metal, sending it showering down on the greenery clasped to the walls. "…I know, right? Here we've got a whole fuckin' continent to look after and dunno that we're even at half strength yet. And now this. Is that trader girl the only one bent on fixing up these shelters? They might wanna refigure that."

"Even if the process isn't identical, I doubt the mentality is much different." Nora doesn't think it's particularly funny either, but nor does she linger on the thought, not with Cerise's prying releasing that cascade of debris. The slight woman gives a quick sidestep to get away from it, lest that rusty dust cling overmuch to her clothes. And so she might as well take another few steps toward that abandoned campfire to see if there's anywhere suitable for sitting. Maybe that rock will do, if she sits very lightly. She bats again at unseen bugs. "I don't even know how many people are out here. Sometimes I wish we'd stayed north, maybe gone to one of the other Weyrs. Coming down here…" Maybe not the best idea she ever had. It's sobering, and, for a moment, those thin shoulder are pulled more narrowly inward. But a deep breath refuses to dwell, casually squares her posture once again. "We're here now, I guess."

Cerise's efforts to pry open the shutter don't last long after Nora's retreat. She does ding the vine-tangled shutter with the tip of the machete in frustration but otherwise is content to withdraw as well- her prospecting urges have taken a nosedive, with the hectic schedule of weyrlinghood. The blade is wiped, one edge, then the other, against the side of her thigh before she ambles after. "Not too late to catch a ride elsewhere," she points out, smile gone rueful- she has the ride, but less option of leaving. "Though where'd you go? Igen's full of fuck ups, to hear the gossips tell it, High Reaches has its head up its arse, as do Telgar and Benden…Fort, maybe, though they were always prigs…Ista?" Another rock is pulled up (so to speak), and the greenling settles with knife over knees and thoughtful eyes on the ex-fire. "Don't hear much talk of them, that's not a bad sign."

"I don't know. Whoever has the most riders?" It's a weak requirement and Nora wears a matching smirk. "Does it really matter? Most of this time has its head up its arse." She'll steal the phrasing, even if it isn't her own, and settling in, she stretches her legs out, boots toward the ash with flashes of pale skin between her socks and her pant-cuffs. "We'll just have to have faith that dragons fight mostly on instinct anyway." And related to nothing at all she purses her lips to say, "We should have brought snacks." Then the pause could have been a proper picnic.

"To hear Jiamoth tell it, they do. Mostly. The formations are our own special touch on the process, aye? To keep the numbers organized. But any time I start feeling the first tingle of nerves, she's on it telling me all I'll need do is keep her stoked with firestone," and here Cerise pauses to pull a grimace matched by her lifemate, to judge by the distant grumble of distaste down the path, "and she'll handle the rest. Makes you wonder though…if we were to jump forward again, would we find they'd pulled their heads out?" It is a mystery, and a question for the ages- but one that at least returns the grin to her face. "I didn't think we'd be out here this long. Should do it more often, aye? Escape while we can. Maybe bring Maosa next time, to tell us more about the wildlings."

"Reassuring," Nora says with a smile to hear that the green feels so firmly as if it's all under control. But then, there is that whole question of firestone. Anyway, there are future outings to look forward to, while the Red Star allows it. "An evening, maybe. With an actual campfire instead of just a circle of ash. And drinks. We'll bring your brother along and he can juggle things for our entertainment. Maosa can tell us wildling stories. I'll have the kitchens pack us a nice basket of food. It will be a regular soiree. You can teach us songs. I'm sure you know enough to rival a harper." With a stretch of smile and a little encouraging lift of her chin, she dares Cerise to deny it.

Deny it? Denying it would take modesty that the born entertainer has likely never possessed. Cerise's grin takes on a blinding cast. "Oh aye, that I do. Not many a harper would approve though, but better for clapping along to than their sorry sonnets. I like it. It's a good idea, something to look forward to midst everything else, our own miniature gather. Y'know, that's what I most miss about the road? The evenings, after chores were done, and the fire was up. That time before sleeping when we'd just…" There's a pang there, and she waves a hand through the air to dismiss the emotion, as well as encourage Nora to fill in the blank with her own assumptions. "I'm in, and Dimi would be too, I know it. Impressed to a bronze and he still hasn't taken to Weyr life. Think we can get you away from your duties enough to make it a regular thing? Or just the one evening?"

"Well good," comes Nora's interjection, agreeing with the value of clapping over sonnets, at least where campfires are concerned, giving a satisfied nod as she attempts to find a place to put a hand behind her, so she might be able to lean back. It's a few failed tries, here, there, before she gives up on the effort and just takes to slouching with her hands folded between her legs. "Just… pass the time?" she attempts to supply in that empty space. "Unwind. Get to know each other? The other assistant at Telgar, our rooms were side by side and sometimes we'd visit in the evening, dressed for bed. A little tea, maybe, a little fire. Just relaxing, talking." She's familiar with the pang, enough to soften the reminiscing shape of her mouth and the cant of her head. Her gaze shifts from the empty fire pit to Cerise. "I think I can make some time." Which might not promise regular, but at least the once. At least. "Is it hard to be in one place for so long?"

"That sounds lovely," Cerise has to admit, though the campfire evenings were more along the lines of, "Music, pranks, pratfalls and jokes…it was our time to one up each other, and tweak the others' noses. Or try out new material, scheme new schemes. Some of our best ideas came to us in those hours between dinner and bed." She too shifts on her rock, but it's more to rock up on one cheek so the opposite leg can extend. The tip of her boot prods at the pile of stick-shaped ash in the center of the ex-fire, sending it into a poofy collapse. The smallest of victories, but her smile is more for Nora's allowance of time- there's a gift she can appreciate, making minutes appear in a busy day for a good cause. "We'll make it worth it," she promises. "And it's…mmm, it's hard in a different way than you'd think. Out there, I could be anyone. It's hard here because I'm the same to you and everyone else, day in, day out. You didn't travel much before coming ahead, aye?"

"I think about that sometimes. Coming forward… I could have been anyone. Who would know, really, aside from my brother?" There's a quirk at Nora's mouth, a sly little look in her eye. "And he didn't know me all that well anyway." But to answer the question, she shakes her head. "No, I didn't really. Not as much as I probably should have. And by dragon, so… the travel itself wasn't its own adventure. Not like you, in the wagon." But remembering the wagon, that oppressively hot day, a pink boa, a flamboyant costume and a weak floorboard, she smiles rather to herself. "What will you do with it now? Think it would fit in your weyr? Or D'tri's?"

"How many do know you, even now?" The question has a seasoning of bemused, of easy warmth and even easier camaraderie- in short, Cerise is paying the other woman a compliment. "I know folks who keep themselves to themselves, and you're a master of it, lady. The real question is, who would you have been, had you made that choice? I still haven't worked it out for myself but Jia isn't holding it against me, thank all the stars." She turns her palms up and looks at the sky- presently starless- but her continued grin, the laughter lurking behind it, marks this exaggeration as just what it is: exaggeration. "He's insisted we keep most of it. I've some of the painted backdrops in my weyr, at Jia's urging, and my costumes. The rest, props and the like, have gone to his. But the wagon…that's tough, aye? There's not an inch in there that wasn't marked in some way by family. Too large for storing, too dear to sell."

It might be a compliment, but it's clear from the onset that Nora doesn't consider it a particularly believable one, nose wrinkling even if she smiles for the flattery. "Am I so mysterious? What am I keeping to myself?" She shakes her head a little, that neat ponytail swinging behind her head. "And what about you? Cerise with the hair, the brother, the costumes, now the lovely green lifemate." Her brows lift to pitch the compliment right back, and she does glance over her shoulder, to check on that strikingly pale green, whether she's still in sight or not. "I don't know, maybe I was different. I did forge a letter of recommendation to Renalde…" she confesses with a touch of something sly at the curl of her smile. As for the wagon, it has her biting her lip. "I can't imagine parting with it. The things I have that I brought with me… That's all there is." Too dear, indeed. "And there wasn't much."

"Oh, everything." Cerise makes it sound like nothing at all, so light is her tone. Both dimples are on display, and a twinkle reminiscent of mischief appears in crescented eyes. "I know you have a brother, that you're comfortable in Weyrs. I can guess you like to take tea in the evening, that you've a fondness for exteriors in regards to clothing and costume, and have likely paid a pretty mark more than once for the best you can afford for your wardrobe. And now I know you're of questionable moral fiber, a trait I quite approve of. But beyond that…I'll have you know, I'm not accustomed to feeling the open book around others, aye?" Her arms swing wide, a gesture meant to indicate herself and maybe also embrace all of those descriptors lobbed at her person. "Jia thanks you for the compliment, by the by. She approves as well, though more in a general sense. All over," she adds, circling her hand around to sketch a sphere around Nora in the air. "Apparently I'm too out of practice, in keeping girlfriends. Too long around menfolk, in her opinion."

"Questionable moral fiber? How did you come by that?" Nora asks with a bright laugh, thoroughly entertained by the notion and perhaps a little surprised as well. "But there must be more to Cerise than the hair and the brother — though you're quite happy to let him distract anyone from looking too closely, no? You probably have more conversations about him than yourself." There's an arch of her brow to put a bit of a knowing point on it. Then the all-encompasing sphere of Nora can only smile again in pleasure for the green's approval: "Why thank you, Jiamoth," she replies to the air in front of her, aware that the words are heard through Cerise's ears. Her voice devolves to a chuckle afterwards, "Aren't we just a party of praise." But there was some question in the greenrider's comments, and so with a breath to settle herself just a touch more seriously, "I was born to Telgar Hold, then I moved to the Weyr after I was searched. But my brother had impressed to High Reaches when I was quite young." So there, some explanation of the whole thing, if that's really what Cerise was looking for. Nora just gives a shrug, because it's hardly a sensational story.

Cerise twiddles her fingers over her palm, to mime writing. "Upstanding citizens rarely resort to forgery, or so I've been told. I had a sister who had a neat hand for signatures, and a brother who was deft with recreating certain seals…" Oh wait, that likely falls back in the category of speaking more about siblings than herself, a charge which earns outright laughter. Oops. "I'm not happy to let him distract, y'know. Just resigned. He's always been the more interesting one. Him and Dami both," and wonder of wonders, her light doesn't dim when speaking of that rare, precious twin. "But if you want to know anything, you've only to ask…just don't tell anyone else I've given you the privilege." The order comes coupled with a raised eyebrow, a strictly controlled smile- as if this were some great boon being handed out.

Nora waves a hand readily, "Oh, there weren't any lies in it. I just didn't actually have time to get a letter before I left. Surely she'd have said most of it, at least." So obviously, it hardly counts. Which probably means Cerise isn't far off the mark anyway, and the headwoman's wry smile probably admits it. "It didn't have to be a good forgery, considering the supposed author has been dead for many, many turns." Anyway, "Dami? Another brother? Dimi and Dami?" She sings-songs the names a little, not quite making fun, but certainly noting the way they form a neat little pair. And so Cerise can likely see the puzzle pieces slipping together in Nora's mind, almost by accident. It sobers a little something, the question made more tentatively earnest just by the flattening of her cheek. "He stayed behind?" With those thoughts, the smile she offers in acceptance of the terms is weaker, but acknowledgement nonetheless.

There is a marked hesitation on the greenling's part but with D'tri not here to glower, and the almost reflexive casual nature of being around a campfire (even a dead one…)… "Damien. Dimi's twin." It's a tale told previously but that doesn't make it any easier, campfire or no. So Cerise cups a hand over the back of her neck and cuts a look off to her right. Behind Nora, well down the path, the scuff of talon against old stone marks Jiamoth rising to trundle nearer the pair. "He didn't make the transport. Meteor came down right in the camp and he'd run back to the tents to get something before we took off. Don't bring it up with him, aye? He's got issues." He does. She is perfectly fine, please and thank you.

Nora doesn't gasp at this tale, but after a beat of breath gone still, there's just enough tightness in her throat to make her inhale audible and her eyes find the ash rather than linger on Cerise. "Issues," she repeats. Surely it's just D'tri who has them. "I'm sorry, Cerise. I'm…" Who knows. And ever moving forward, she doesn't let the empty silence stretch on for long. "It was just the three of you? Cerise with the costumes and dancing, D'tri with the juggling and noise, Damien with…" A glance aside waits for her to fill it in. But there's something growing pinched at the corner of her mouth in the meantime, further thoughts that haven't yet found a voice.

Sorry is waved off, the gesture oft-practiced and well-oiled. Cerise's curls shift around her face with the matching shake of her head. "It's four hundred Turns gone, aye? Everyone who came forward has ash in their footsteps." Nora's conjecture about their roles works well enough in summoning a smile back, pursed though it is. "Dami had the smarts. Always thinking four steps ahead, while everyone else was four steps behind even that. If he'd been born in something other than dirt, he'd have been a Master or Lord or even Weyrleader, I'd wager…if Dimi can pull a bronze, Dami'd have as well, and likely one better behaved than Chorz. I'll tell you true, it scared me sometimes how smart he was. But…" She scrubs her hands off on her thighs, then braces against them to stand, pushing off of herself to straighten up. "You ready to fly again?"

"A little different, though." The ash of leaving people behind to finish their lives against the knowledge that someone should be here and isn't. But Nora won't argue it beyond the comment. She just rounds her shoulders a little, slides her palms together between the space of her thighs. She smiles, yes, for the description of the lost twin, but something thoughtful remains in her eyes, leaving little room for her expression to reach them. Perhaps she wasn't expecting the suggestion to leave, the greenrider suddenly getting to her feet. It has her posture pulling up as well, though she's slower to stand and, "Yeah," might be a lackluster answer. She brushes at her backside, to be sure that the rock hasn't left much behind and turns her attention toward the road, a step starting. "By the way," she adds, a new topic. "I wanted to apologize, about the tavern." Which is probably the apology itself, and her mouth finds the shape of a wry little smirk. "I prefer not to think of myself as a moody drunk."

"Close enough." And that, as they say, is that- or at least, that's all Cerise is willing to say on the subject. She's already turned to meet Jiamoth, the little green's wide stride carrying her faster than the young woman's own. They meet not quite in the middle with Cerise sidestepping to neatly tuck the machete back into its sheath. Snaps are done, buckles tightened, and while she keeps her hands busied that way, she tilts a brief glance- and faint but genuine smile- back in Nora's direction. "Shame you left so early. I'm a friendly drunk, I might've been able to help cheer you up," she says, voice pitched at teasing. "Don't worry about it, eh? We all have our moments and my guess was you'd had a shitty day. Or week. Maybe even month? Faranth knows I wouldn't want your knot, though I used to toy with the idea. Before."

"I wanted you for it, too," Nora says of the knot she isn't wearing at the moment, her smirk broadening as she tromps a beat behind Cerise to meet Jiamoth. "So disappointing the way you had to go and find yourself a lovely green instead." And since said lovely green is here, there is an extra lilt of humor in her voice and the put-upon addendum. "I suppose I can forgive you both, under the circumstances. It would have been nice, though. For me at least. Perhaps less so for you, working with Renalde." She'll wait in the meantime for Cerise to finish with the machete, snaps and buckles, all the fixing that need doing before they can take to the air again.

"Oh aye?" Now that leads Cerise back to laughter, and shaking her head as well. "See? Keeping things to yourself." But Jiamoth doesn't mind, at least in this instance. With eyes spinning a turquoise shade of amusement, she taps her beaked snout to her girl's shoulder then tilts A Look at Nora- who might, if she's paying attention, feel the faintest tickle of champagne bubbles at the back of her mind, something fizzy and light. "I'm not sure there's a wage high enough to keep me happily working with Renalde, though I'll provide moral support when and as I can. C'mon then, you up first." She steps to the side and crouches to cup hands for a foot up. Not that Jiamoth's a mountain to clamber atop of, but she's got draybeasts beat for height, if only just.

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